Monday, 20 August 2012

Hitchventure 2012: Day 2...

I woke up really late. The sun was already up and it was about 8 o'clock. A lie-in if you ask me.

But I felt good, turns out stinging nettles make good bedding when laid on. I brushed my teeth and packed up, putting my long johns on over my shorts to get out of the wood alive and without big nettle bumps all over me.

At the services I found a shower... BLISS. Showers are awesome. If you haven't ever been without one, try. You will fall in love with the next one you see. So I stood there for ages, soaking up the hot water, I felt so good after and stood outside the services with a sign for West, sheepishly asking a few punters who were exiting.

Peter was a Doctor before retiring and offered to take me 20 miles down the road to Shrewsbury. He knew of a service station there and said it'd be ideal. I'm always cautious of taking other peoples opinions of hitching spots as, usually, they have never hitched themselves and so cannot judge whether a particular place will be good or not. Peter on the other hand was spot on. It was on a busy junction and had a lay-by on the road West which is what I wanted to take.

I waited about 30 minutes with no bites before the heavens opened. It chucked it down too, not rain, more sheets of water, like a waterfall. So I sat outside the Esso garage feeling like Jay or Silent Bob outside their convenience store. I still flew my sign. 'West'

Surprisingly I heard a shout from a little Suzuki something. "Where you off to?" came a weird, Devonshire/Welsh accent. Vicky was coming back from V Fest and she looked it! I explained I wanted to get to Snowdon eventually but anywhere in between would be good. She laughed and said she could take me to the bottom but she wasn't driving up!

So we sat for an hour an a half, driving down the A5, a beautiful road, and chatted about marriage, child birth and other bizarre subjects. It was cool. She rang her husband who had the thickest Welsh accent I've ever heard, so much so I couldn't understand him. She thought that her picking up a hitchhiker would be an issue but, I think, he wasn't too fussed and more concerned with which baby pudding to buy their 6 month old for dinner.

I was in Llanberis by 2pm. Sat at the bottom of Snowdon and in the rain. My cheap £4 Tesco umbrella had broken and I was getting wet. The road to the Youth Hostel was about half a mile of 30 - 40 degree uphill that killed my legs with my pack on my back. I was treated to a disheartening note on the door of the Hostel. "Sorry no vacancies tonite". Damnit. I walked around the building looking for an alcove or even a pair of trees where I could string up my tarp.

I found quite a large room on the basement level which had chairs stacked neatly in the corner. It must have been a meeting room or something similar, but it was empty, and that's what mattered to me. That was my haggling weapon.

I waited around outside as the weather improved, topping up the tan on my neck! I began to become curious as to how 'youthful' this youth hostel was as reams of 40 somethings with glasses arrived or departed from the keypad controlled door. I personally thought the YHA had a rule that it's accommodation was suitable for youngsters (under 30) who needed cheap, no thrills accommodation to help them in their travels.

Well it turns out it isn't. Not his particular Youth Hostel atleast. It's more of a hotel i'm afraid to say. To be booked well in advance by 40 - 60 years olds or families with young children. I was quite disappointed when the Warden said I could not have a space, even when I notion-ed towards the, seemingly, disused meeting room. They could not spare a space big enough for a young traveller to lie down. I guess times have changed.

I continued up the mini mountain road to a campsite about 200 meters away. I explained that I had little money and needed somewhere to string my tarp for the night. "Your a student right?" Said the farmer with another thick Welsh accent. "Erm ... I can be?!" and he charged me £5 instead of the usual 10er.

I fashioned a pretty terrible tarp setup and hurled my bivvi under. I ate a whole load of Bombay mix whilst I watched 'Kurt and Courtney' (Documentary) on my netbook and swatted at the hundreds of midges that flew around my head.

I'd had a mixed day. I'd made huge progress hitching wise with a direct, 1 ride, stint to Llanberis, but my high was ruined by the apparent loss in morals of the YHA. Still nothing could be worse than shooting yourself because of a crazy wannabe rockstar misses.

Plus all I had to do was lean out of my tarp to look at this! Tomorrow, I walk up it!

Keep going for Day 3


  1. Have you run out of battery power yet? Great blog. What you been eating? Any foraging? D x

  2. Never run out of battery! Always a power outlet somewhere!

    Mainly been eating balti mix and cereal bars I bought from home. Just treated myself to a Maccy D's and had a huge breakfast before going up Snowdon